Master's Programme Committee for Mathematics and Operations Research 5/23

Hello everyone,

And welcome back from the summer holidays. The Master’s Programme Committee for Mathematics and Operations Research had its first meeting of the fall on the 22nd of August, and here you can find the summary of that meeting.

Decision items

  • Master’s theses topics and languages as well as appointment of the theses supervisors and advisors were approved according to the proposal
  • Master’s theses grades as well as statements from the supervisors were also approved according to the proposal

By student representatives it was noted that in the new thesis template, the cover page text saying “Master’s programme in Mathematics and Operations Research” has programme with lowercase p, even though it should be uppercase. We also discussed briefly the difference in grading practices between departments. It was observed that it might be slightly more difficult to get the grade 5 from the CS department (=the advisor and/or supervisor of the thesis is from the CS department than from the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis. This is at least how it has appeared for this Committee during this year. However, it is unclear how much this has to do with specific professors as opposed to being a general principle of the department.

Discussion items

As a first discussion item we considered the “official” description of the programme that will be part of the curriculum 2024-2026. By the time of the meeting, the description had more or less been copy-pasted from the previous curriculum. There was one clause in particular that raised discussion, namely “Each student is assigned an academic advisor who guides the student through the programme”. While this holds for students entering the programme, instead of restricting students asking for advice from a particular advisor, the message could be formulated more in the way that it lowers the general threshold for asking for advice from any professor. At least the professors present in the meeting said they would be more than happy to help if a student stopped by their office to ask for academic advice regardless whether that particular student was assigned to them or not.

In addition, we discussed what should be the proportion of mandatory courses versus elective courses within the major studies. For example in the Mathematics major, there are no mandatory courses, whereas in the Systems and Operations Research major there are 4 mandatory courses as well as some further restrictions on choosing the remaining major courses. Of course there is no “right” answer to this question; the freedom of choice may suit one better, while others may find a structured study path more suitable for them. But when it comes to the bachelor level studies, the visibility of master level courses could be considered more carefully, in particular if the student would like to obtain a certain “study track”. That is, currently only for the students aiming for the Systems and Operations Research major, some master level courses from that major (e.g. MS-E2114 Investment Science, MS-E2117 Riskianalyysi) are proposed to be taken already as a part of bachelor level studies. It was considered whether the same kind of system could be provided for the other 2 majors as well. This could benefit students that are confident about their interest already at an early stage of their studies.

As a second discussion item, the course feedback the department had received from the academic 2022-2023 was evaluated. It was observed that in general, TFM courses received better feedback compared to the same courses organized for other majors/schools. The course MS-A0101 Differential and Integral Calculus 1 (TFM) received a particularly good grade. It was observed that for master level courses, the response rate is lower compared to the bachelor level courses. This can be at least partly explained by the greater drop-out rate. Hence, in reality a 50% response rate to the course feedback might in fact mean that everyone who actually completed the whole course also responded to the course feedback. Therefore, the interpretation of these results is a bit harder.


It was announced that the orientation for new students is organized between 28th of August - 1st of September. The Committee was also informed to leave their comments on the draft of language policies and guidelines at The deadline for comments was the 31st of August. In addition, the schedule of the curriculum 2024-2026 development was revised for the Committee.

The next meeting for this Committee is on the 10th of October. I wish everyone an awesome academic year 2023-2024!

Br, Tommi